If you have a Leopard Gecko you may be wondering what food is best for him. But what about freeze-dried crickets, are they a good idea?
Yes, you can feed your Leopard Gecko freeze-dried crickets. However, this is not ideal and should be offered occasionally rather than their staple. Live insects are a better option for Leos. This is more natural for them and in line with their hunting instinct.
Now that you understand that these dried crickets are ok, but not ideal, let me continue to explain why live insects are a better idea if you can simulate live behavior in dried crickets and so much more. Keep reading.
Earlier I mentioned that live crickets is a better choice thank freeze-dried. But, you may be wondering why this even makes a difference, right? Well, here are the main reasons:
One of the benefits of live food is these insects will naturally feed themselves to survive. This means that right up until they are fed to your Leo they a packed with nutrients.
Gut loading is a method used to force nutrients, basically pe-feeding the insects with vegetables, before feeding them to your Leo. When they are freeze-dried this can happen (more on this later), but only up until the point they were dried and frozen.
With live food they can eat right up until the point when your Leo consumes them, are you with me?
You may find that many Lepard Geckos will not even want to eat anything that is not Live. This is because it is their natural instinct to eat live insects. There are ways to help trick them into eating freeze-dried crickets (more on this later). But, it is not guaranteed for all Leos.
Leos are natural hunters. The movement of crickets will catch their attention and make them feel compelled to attack and prey on them. Feeding them these Live insects will keep them practiced on hunting and keep in line with their natural instincts.
Earlier I mentioned that you can trick your Leo into thinking that the dried crickets are moving. This is an attempt to entice them to eat the freeze-dried version.
Basically you can use some tongs or another item to hold the cricket. The idea is to make it seem that the cricket is moving. Some Leos will go for this. But, to be honest it may be hit and miss. Some might, some won’t.
Earlier I explained why gut loading is used, as a method to pre-feed crickets with nutrients. However, many Leopard Gecko owners are encouraged to dust their pets, but why is this even necessary?
This is because gut loading only helps with part of the puzzle. Many experts have acknowledged that these insects may not meet their entire calcium and vitamin requirements.
So, they will need some supplementation to help to meet this need. This is where dusting comes in. This supplement is brushed onto your Leo to boost its calcium and/or vitamin needs.
There are other methods to get calcium into the crickets (Click here to check the availability on Amazon) and some owners prefer this method.
Earlier I explained why and how gut loading is used to pre-feed crickets and other insects, prior to feeding them to your Leo. But, is it really necessary?
Yes, gut loading the crickets is necessary. If you think about the natural cycle of insects in the wild, what happens? They eat, grow and multiply, right?
This natural urge to eat is nature’s way of providing your Leo with food. Because they are next in line in the food chain. In a domestic pet setup, we are obviously leading an artificial version of nature. Therefore nature should be emulated as much as possible, right?
So, this is why gut loading is done. It keeps the insects alive and well. And, in turn, provides your Leo with a nutritious meal.
The amount of crickets required for your Leo heavily depends on their age. While they are young and growing, you will need to keep them regularly feed. But this will slow down as they get into their adult years.
As a guide, while they are hatchlings, they may consume up to seven crickets each day. They can also consume larger food items a few times a week.
However, as they get older, over 12 months roughly, they may only consume up to seven crickets up to three times a week.
So far you have learned about the viability of freeze-dried crickets and how they stand up when compared to live crickets, etc. But, with that being said, when is a good time to feed them? Just anytime, or is there an optimal time for this?
The best time to feed them is after their day time sleep. Ideally around about 8PM. This is because Leos are active about this time and like to eat when they rise.
Do you like to eat breakfast when you rise? Exactly, the same concept for Leos. This is why this time is ideal for them. And, increases the chances of them eating all the crickets that you have provided for them.
Yes, you can feed your leopard gecko a combination of live and freeze-dried crickets. But, if this the direction you wish to take, you should make live food a priority.
The reason for this is for the same points stressed earlier. It is more nutritious, in line with their natural instincts and keeps their hunting instincts sharp, are you with me?
Just understand this, you may still need to entice him to eat the freeze-dried option using the same tactics I mentioned earlier.
You may have heard before that it is not a good idea to leave insects in the enclosure after your Leo has eaten. But, you may be wondering why this is even such an issue, right?
Well, it’s actually quite important for the following reasons:
Once your pet has finished eating its fill of crickets, some novice owners will just leave the live insects to roam around. But, this is not a good idea. Why? Because these crickets are feisty and will start to nibble on your Leo.
As you can imagine, this is not good for your Leo and open wounds can also lead to other infections, which intern, will result in you having to pick up the costs.
Earlier I explained why dusting these crickets is required. Now, this is all well and good if your Leo eats them in a timely manner. Basically, right away. But, if you leave them roaming around, this will start to wear off them.
On a one-off occasion, this is fine. But, on a regular basis, this can lead to deficiencies.
Earlier, I explained the benefits of feeding your Leo live insects, instead of freeze-dried versions. But, it is important to say that some of these freeze-dried variants are actually gut-loaded as well.
For example, some of these crickets are gut loaded with calcium supplementation (Click here to check the price on Amazon) They are typically gut loaded with this, along with any other offerings before they are dried and frozen.
The idea is to lock in the nutrients at the point of freezing. It makes sense, but it is unlikely to match the benefit of live crickets.
In this section, I will answer some questions related to Leopard Geckos, crickets and their feeding habits. If you have more questions that need to be answered, feel free to drop a comment below.
No, Leopard geckos should not eat lettuce. This is because they are insectivores. They get their nutrients from the insects directly. This is the reason why it is important to supplement the insects when they are kept domestically. This is to ensure that they get their required nutrition.
Yes, Leopard Geckos will eat ants. In fact, they will eat almost any insect they can get their hands on, which is the right size for their consumption. Crickets are one of their staples, but ants will definitely be eaten by them.
To give you an idea of the different types of insects they will consume, they have been known to eat flies, beetles, butterflies even wasps have been tackled.
If you have a leopard Gecko, no doubt you want to check everything before you give it to him. Water is one of those important things you need to check.
Yes, leopard geckos can drink bottled water. In fact, many geckos are fine with bottled or tap water. If there is some concerns about it, such as possible chlorine content, spring water can be used as a possible replacement, especially if he is sensitive.
Now that you understand that bottled water is ok, let me go on to explain if it is reliable, the concerns some people have with tap water, why you should have a shallow dish for the bottled water and so much more…
So far you know that bottled water is ok for your Leo. But, it is important to understand what you are using. There is a chance that some bottled water is not as pure as you think. What do I mean by this?
Well, there is a chance that it can include chlorine or even chloramine. While this is not necessarily a problem (more on this later), it is important to understand exactly what you are getting.
The reality is, some people assume that bottled water is the ultimate pure product, but this is not always the case. And, it varies heavily on the brand that you use.
Leos require their water served in a dish, ideally a shallow dish (Click here to check availability on Amazon). This serves three purposes:
First and full most, your Leo needs a regular supply of water to drink. Therefore, this dish will help him get that necessary supply of water. Make sure that the water is replenished regularly because he won’t like dirty water.
As well as drinking, he will benefit from the dish for humidity (Click here to see how to lower the humidity in a Leo’s enclosure). This will help to regulate the humidity basically. However, understand that this can only help with humidity, it is not the full solution.
This may seem a bit weird to you. You know, why would your Leo soak in the same water it drinks? Well, it may sound weird to you, but this is just what they do. It helps them keep themselves cool when required.
Also, when they are shedding, this will help them go through the process easier. Because an incomplete shed is painful and a big problem for some lizards.
As I mentioned earlier, an incomplete shed is painful for Leo’s, so anything that you can do to aid the process, is greatly appreciated.
Firstly, as discussed earlier, providing a water dish big enough for soaking (Click here to check the price on Amazon) is very important.
Another trick that you can use is to let your Leo soak in warm water. This will help them shrug off any excess skin during the shredding process. For this to be effective it needs to be more than once. Ideally, you need to consider two or even three times a week, are you with me?
As I mentioned briefly earlier, some Leo owners are a bit anxious when the word “tap water” comes up. But why is this?
The main reason is the unknown chemicals used during the cleanup process to make it drinkable for us humans. In fact, we all should take an interest in what we drink, not just for the care of our Leo’s, but that’s another story.
By far, the biggest concern is the chlorine content. This is one of the known chemicals used to clean up the water for human consumption.
Some of these concerns have stemmed from fish and amphibians. This is because they are known to be sensitive to tap water. And, this fact makes other pet owners ask questions before using it, are you with me?
Aside from this, is the fact that some areas are unlucky and may have contaminated water. This is often impossible to detect until years later after studies have been done.
Regarding chlorinated water, such as ta water. other objections exist, some minor, others are more significant. such as:
As you can imagine this is a more minor concern but worth mentioning. Some humans feel that this type of water has a weird taste. Obviously this is subjective. And, is this a concern for Leopard Geckos? Well, it hasn’t been proven.
Another issue is using unapproved water sources such as outdoor pipes. You know, maybe that rusty old pipe in your back garden?
The issue with these is, they may contain lead or other dissolved solids because they are not qualified water sources. And, most definitely not to be used for you or your Leopard Gecko.
If you have a glass enclosure (Click here to see why I selected this glass enclosure), chlorinated water can be a concern. This is more of a cosmetic issue, but considering a glass enclosure is all about aesthetics, it is a big deal.
Basically, the minerals in the water can cause hard water streaks on the enclosure glass. Hence the reason some owners are wary of using it.
With all this talk about chlorine and concerns, it makes you wonder why even bother to have it in the water in the first place, right?
The reality is, it is claimed that it is necessary to treat the water to make it safe for use to consume. The assumption is that is safe for non-aquatic animals as well, I say “assumption” because others argue the case. The expectation is that these chemicals will be broken down as we (or the animal) digests the water.
Now that you understand the importance of having water in the enclosure, whether that’s bottled or tap. You may be wondering exactly what location should you place it? And does it really make a difference?
Yes, there is an optimal location to place the water in the enclosure. In fact, it should be located on the cool side of the enclosure.
Well, if it is on the hot side (more on this later) it will get hot and gradually evaporate, are you with me? This will mean there is a danger that your Leo will either will not have enough water or the water will be too warm, make sense.
If you are scratching your head wondering what I mean by the “cool side”. Basically the enclosure should have a hot or “basking area”. This where your Leo can warm up.
And, the cool side is where your Leo can cool off when required. This is where the water should be.
In this section, I will answer some questions that are related to Leopard Geckos, water & food consumption. If you have more questions, please feel free to drop a comment below.
No, distilled water is not good for Leopard Geckos. With all this talk about chlorinated water, and the concerns about it. Maybe you were thinking distilled water could be a safer option, right.
Lack of salt and Minerals
Well, no it isn’t. The main issue with distilled water is the lack of salt and minerals. These elements are typically dissolved in natural water and offer big benefits to your Leopard Gecko. But, none of this is contained in distilled water, hence the reason why it is not ideal.
You can tell if your Leopard Gecko is dehydrated by its skin (maybe wrinkled, trouble shedding, flaky or lost elasticity), eyes (maybe sunken), energy (lack of it) or its feces (reduced frequency or constipated).
Understanding which type of water is just one thing, but making sure you give your Leo enough water is another important factor.
Yes, Leopard Geckos need baths. But, this should be done sparingly. You should only really consider bathing him if he is really dirty, been instructed by your vet or he has difficulty shedding, If you bath him too much he can get dry skin and attract diseases.
No, Leopard Geckos do not get lonely. In fact, Leo’s are known to be solitary, meaning they often enjoy their own company. This follows the trend of most reptiles, not being sociable. You may find if they are mixed they will fight.
If you have seen a weird white looking excretion in your Leopard Geckos tank, you may be wondering when do they actually pee, right?
Yes, Leopard Geckos do pee. But, it is not like our urine. In fact, it’s not liquid. It is a white substance called urates. It is a white powder that appears to be solid. It is designed to conserve water in the wild.
Now that you know how they pee, you may also be wondering what the benefits are if they can pee without pooping, the dangers of white looking urates, and so much more. Keep reading.
As you may already know, Leopard Geckos are from dry areas. Also known as “Arid”. So, they have evolved to master how to survive in these areas. With the emphasis on water (Click here to see if Leo’s can use bottled water) conservation.
The biggest benefit is their ability to conserve water, which is at a premium in their natural habitat. So, in these hot dry areas they can survive longer with less water, are you with me?
In addition to these, they get to get rid of unwanted chemicals such as uric acid.
By now you should understand the benefits of these urates, why it is necessary for their natural habitat, etc. However, if you have not seen these urates before you may be curious to understand roughly what they look like, right?
If you haven’t seen them before, let me explain, they should look white, soft to touch, but a solid structure. It is usually white one end, then whit the other.
This is because when she urates, it is usually followed up with poop, same time. So, one end should be white, for the urates. And, the other end should be brownish. I say “should”, because this is not always the case, sometimes the urates may look yellow (more on this later).
Earlier I explained that you should expect to see urates accompanied by feces. Meaning you would expect to see a white color one end, followed by a brown color. But what happens if you just see a white solid substance, should you be alarmed?
The answer is not necessarily. This is because there are certain times when this is to be expected. In particular, during the breeding season. The reason for this is, during this period there may be extended periods where the female and male Leo will stop eating.
So, as you would expect, if there is no eating, there is no feces expected during this time, are you with me? So, don’t be alarmed if this is the case, during this period.
If you have noticed yellow-colored urates from your Lepard Gecko, there is a good chance that he is feeling dehydrated. If this is the case, you may be wondering how you can work around this.
One of the best ways to avoid this is to make sure that you provide regular freshwater. This is essential so that they have the option to keep themselves hydrated.
During the breeding season, you may notice the male or female Leo stop eating. However, it is still important to provide water during this time. This will avoid hydration during this important time.
Because Leo’s do not always drink as much as they should do, you may find that your pet will get most of her hydration from the food she eats. Therefore, gut loading (Click here to see how and why you should be gut loading) is important.
If you have never heard of gut loading, it is a method of pre-feeding the insects that you plan to feed to your Leo. This will fill them full of nutrients and help them hydrate her.
If you have discovered some Urates for the first time, or you are just looking for better ways to handle it, you are in luck. Because I am going to explain how you can clean it up as easy as possible.
If you use paper towel substrate then this is good news. This is because you can easily utilize these paper towels to your advantage. If you have had a Leo for a while, you may agree that they tend to poop in the same location of the enclosure. This helps because you know where to find the mess.
You can simply locate the poop, then fold up the towel, containing the poop. Then simply discard it. This is a simple way forward.
If you use other substrates (Click here for the best substrate for Leopard Gecko eggs), such as tiles, you need a different cleaning solution.
One of the biggest errors lizard owners make is trying to clear it up immediately after it’s been dropped. This is the worst time by the way. Why? Simple, it will be runny and likely to smear and dirty the tank, are you with me?
Therefore, a better solution is to be patient. Wait for a short while. Once it naturally hardens, you can scoop it up and dispose of it easily, make sense?
In this section, I will be answering some questions related to Leopard Geckos, urates and poop. If you have any other related questions please feel free to leave a comment below.
No, they do not eat their own poop. Maybe you have heard rumors that Leos are known for eating their own Poop. But, where did these rumors come from?
Not sure, but I can say that it not based on fact. One thing though, they may be inclined to hide their poop in the substrate. So, it is a good idea to look out for it in the enclosure.
The poop may stink because it has been left for a few days. If it is cleaned up right away it will stop the smell. It is important to look carefully for the poop because Leos can hide their poop.
If you are worried about taking on a Leo because of their smell. You may be anxious wondering if it will stink out the house. Which is understandable, who really wants this? Hopefully, now you know, it’s not too much of an issue, as long as they are managed correctly.
Your Gecko may pee on you because she is scared of you, and feels that you may be a predator. Her natural reaction is fear until she is conditioned to trust you. If she is new, give her time to adjust.
Yes, some Leopard Geckos do poop every day. However, there are others that vary. Younger Leos tend to go two or three times, and other older ones may only go two or three times a week. The food intake is a factor too.
Put it this way, if you feed your Leo a lot of food each day, then there is a good chance that she will poop more often, make sense?
No, Leopard geckos will not eat fruit and vegetables. They are carnivores and will mainly consume insects such as crickets, mealworms, super worms, and even roaches. They get most of their nutrients from these insects. But, supplementation is also required.
Yes, you can overfeed a Leopard Gecko. However, most Leo’s will naturally stop when they have had enough. But, unfortunately, there are some greedy ones that won’t. Therefore, you need to look out for them to avoid overfeeding and obesity.
If you are a responsible Bearded Dragon owner, the chances are you want the best for him. Meaning, you are likely to be focused on feeding him only the best food for him. But, what about eggs?
Yes, Bearded dragons can eat eggs. But, it should not be in large quantities. The reason for this is, it is high in protein. Too much protein for an adult Beardie is not good for them.
Now that you know that they can eat eggs, let me explain exactly what an egg is made of, how to prepare the egg, if you wish to serve it up, parts of the egg you must not serve up and much more. Keep reading…
According to Wikipedia, an egg is an organic entity, which contains zygote. An embryo is developed and grows until it can survive on its own. It is actually produced from the fertilization of an egg cell.
If you are wondering exactly what is in an egg, I have compiled some facts about their contact, according to Wikipedia – This is based on a 100g sample:
As you may already know, eggs have a hard outer shell that protects them from impact. Obviously, it is not the strongest of materials. However, it does protect them never the less.
This hardshell is primarily made from calcium carbonate crystals. From the outside, it may look like a solid unpenetrable material. However, in reality, it is penetrable.
In fact, it is known as a semipermeable material. This basically means that water and even air can pass through it. This is important for the growth and survival of the contents of the egg.
It also has a thin outer layer known as the cuticle. This is important because it helps to guard the egg. From what? Well, believe it or not, there are varies forms of bacteria that can threaten to penetrate the egg. Therefore, this outer layer can help to protect, as well as keeping dust particles out.
If you are keen on serving up some eggs for your Beardie, you may be wondering what is the best way to prepare these eggs, right?
Firstly, you need to make sure that you never offer any raw eggs, they need to be cooked. As well as this, avoid any seasoning, oil or butter. I know this may seem a bit different to how you prepare your eggs, but your Beardie cannot tolerate these extra ingredients, are you with me?
The best, and easiest way, to prepare eggs is boiling or scrambling them. Boiling goes without saying though, right? As for scrambling:
Remember, NO additional salt, pepper, seasoning, butter or oil, got it?
No, bearded dragons should not eat eggshells. Sometimes, while you prepare eggs, you get the odd piece of shell in there. Sometimes, if it’s us eating it, you can get away with just eating it (Well I have, anyway).
But, when it comes to our bearded friends, it’s not a good idea. The reason is, it can lead to impaction problems.
If you have not heard of that before, it basically blocks their system, often occurs with poor choices in substate choices in substate (Click here to see why I rate these 3 Bearded Dragon substrates). It’s important to get the right one.
Earlier I stated that too much protein is bad for a bearded Dragon. To expand on this, when they are young it is not too bad. Why? Because they need more protein when they are younger. In fact, they are usually fed live insects most days at this stage.
However, as they get older they require less protein. In fact, their diet will typically consist of more vegetables, in particular, leafy greens, once they reach adulthood.
At this stage, if they are feed too much protein they run the danger of getting fat and susceptible to diseases such as fatty liver, or obesity.
Yes, Bearded dragons can eat scrambled eggs. However, like eggs in general, it needs to be done in moderation.
Think of it this way, we all know that fast food is bad for us right? So, when is the last time you ate a burger, pizza or kebab? Exactly!
My point is this, scrambled eggs is really not ideal, but it can be done in moderation, are you with me? You know, you may be short of veg one day and you Beardie needs feeding.
Maybe, in this situation, you might just give him some scrambled eggs “for now”, until you get to the shops with more veg, are you with me?
No, bearded dragons should not eat raw egg, not ever! This is a big NO. Also, while we are on this note. Never consider feeding them unboiled eggshells either. In fact, eggshells should be avoided anyway, to be honest.
The main reason for this is the bacteria. Eggs are rife with bacteria when they are raw. But, when they are cooked, this kills the bacteria. So, eating it raw is not a good idea for us humans or Beardies.
In this section, I will be answering some questions related to Bearded Dragons and food. If you have any other related questions, please feel free to leave me a comment below.
Yes, Bearded Dragons do lay eggs. In fact, the female Beardie is even known to lay eggs without mating. But why is this? The reason for this is she can lay infertile eggs. You see, the male is required to fertilize the eggs, for the “magic” to happen.
There are some occasions, that can confuse some lizard owners, where they see their female lay fertilized eggs without any sight of a male. The chances are, this has happened because a male was there at some point, without you seeing it. Or, maybe they are really not fertilized eggs, are you with me?
No, Bearded dragons do not chew their food. This is why it is important to feed them food that is correctly sized. Why? Because, if the food is too big it can choke them.
But, what is the right size? Well, a general guide, for most lizards, is to not feed them any food item that s longer than the distance between their eyes, are you with me?
No, you should not feed your bearded dragon bacon. To be honest, they may attempt to eat it if it’s offered, but that’s not the point.
Well, bacon is full of fat and salt, both of which are not good for your beardie. It offers no nutritional value and negatively affects its health. Are you with me?
Yes, Bearded Dragons can eat Kiwi. But, it should not be its staple food. Meaning, it should only be a rare treat, at best. Why? The main reason for this is the high amount of oxalic acid it contains. This is not god for its calcium levels.
Think of it in the same manner as scrambled eggs, that we discussed earlier. Yes, your beardie will probably devour this Kiwi, but it doesn’t mean its good for him. It is, again, similar to my fast food analogy (see above).